This UCAS publication (April 2021) explores the reasons for choice of degree subjects of UK higher education students and applicants, and maps their decision-making journeys from primary through secondary school. It also explores the barriers and challenges they faced in the decision-making process. Based on the responses of 64,600 higher education students and applicants and 1,200 parents and carers, covered in 6 separate UCAS surveys, the report is set in the context of statutory provision for career guidance in schools in the UK and of schools’ engagement in implementing this provision.
Among the key findings are:
- 40% believe more information and advice would have led to them making better choices
- Almost 33% report not receiving any information about apprenticeships from their school
- 99% choose degree subjects based on their enjoyment of that subject in school
- 33% when in primary school thought about attending university
- Disadvantaged students are more likely to consider Higher Education options later in their school life
- High graduate employment rates from degree programmes are also key drivers of degree/subject choice in the COVID context.
The study proposes several recommendations to improve career guidance provision for all school students.
One Appendix provides a very useful summary of and references for policies for career guidance provision in schools in the four UK home countries: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.